For years, we have assumed that Chatbots are only used to respond to customer queries. We ask a question, and the templated answer gets featured and if we ask a complicated question, we get directed to a human. What is known in the last few years is that chatbots can power marketing in a way that the brand doesn’t miss out on any opportunity to engage with the consumer. Chatbots today use AI (artificial intelligence) /ML (machine learning) and NLP (natural language processing) to respond to queries and create a human-like experience for customers. Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that focuses on creating new data or content based on existing data by using deep learning algorithms. It can be used to create new images, videos, audio, text and other types of content that are original and not just ‘stitched’ together from scraping the internet.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, is a natural language processing (NLP) technology developed by OpenAI that allows users to have conversational interactions with a machine. This Large Language Model (LLM) is fine-tuned with other supervised and reinforced learning techniques and has been made available as a research preview so the OpenAI team can learn about its strengths and weaknesses.
We are using the word ChatGPT loosely, as ChatGPT is simply a variant of the GPT model. Released in May 2020, Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like conversational text. Given an initial text as a prompt, it will produce text that continues the prompt.
In December, when ChatGPT was released to the public (exiting beta), it became the first application to reach 1M users in just five days, a milestone that took Instagram ~75 days and Spotify ~150 days to achieve. Much of this was the virality of the awe that was shared by everyone who used the program. Of course, meme-fiction of experiences helped in catching attention and headlines too.
Impact of ChatGPT on Digital Marketing:
Digital marketing is an ever-changing and rapidly evolving domain, if you are not taking action to improve your business's digital marketing strategy, it will be difficult for you to keep up with new competitors.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be used for marketing in a variety of ways. For example, businesses could use ChatGPT to create chatbots that can answer customer questions and provide information about products or services. This could help improve customer experience by providing quick and convenient access to information. It considers itself to be an “Assistant” rather than “ChatGPT”, as confirmed on its own accord in the above conversation.
ChatGPT impact on Search Marketing
For us search marketers, this progress is an exciting disruption to how consumers will interact with brands in the near future. Conversational (VUI) and Dialogue interfaces will make interactions with computers and AI seamless and flexible. ChatGPT’s release demonstrates a transitional era of information discovery to knowledge and asset creation.
Merkle Sokrati has remained bullish on this topic for years, aiming to help brands navigate to newer content discovery platforms, while dominating the current king of search, Google. We have created various tools & processes that have helped in automating processes for our clients. Tools like campaign planner, Periscope – Sokrati's in-house 360-degree tool, MiFO-our predictive marketing tool and the Search term analysis tool are a few examples of how we were able to maximize the output of Google Ads for our clients. We believe consumers will determine the future as AI and Assistants make our lives easier. Especially when tools can turn research or information into “knowledge” and we are moving away from pure information discovery to knowledge and creation.
The landscape of content discovery and creation has only become more and more complex over the last couple of years. We continue to move away from a click, tap, and search mentality to new "natural" behaviors that are more conversational and express our “intent” to devices (machines). This ultimately changes the platforms we prefer, and those platforms ultimately dictate the rules and relevance for brands to have meaningful progress with consumers.
When a brand creates content to benefit its consumers, it has to deal with a constantly changing and growing environment that makes it harder to prioritize and optimize the type of content it should create. For any brand, it is important to stay on top of the trends dominating in their category and create content relevant to that. Let's say a fashion brand wants to promote a new clothing line to its audience. To effectively reach and engage with its target customers, the brand needs to be aware of the latest fashion trends and consumer preferences. This means they need to stay up to date on what's popular and what's not, in terms of styles, colors and patterns.
Conversational Commerce – GMB & Click to WhatsApp
The rapid expansion of Click to WhatsApp (CTWA) and Google Business Messaging (GMB) is an example of how brands are banking more on conversational commerce.
Click-to-WhatsApp ads are a Meta ad format that allows businesses to launch ad campaigns that prompt their target audience to send them a message on WhatsApp. This ad format uses the call-to-action (CTA) interaction available on social media ads and combines it with the features of WhatsApp Business. Similarly, Google Business Messaging is a communication platform that allows businesses to connect with their customers through Google Search, Google Maps, and Google My Business listings. It provides a way for customers to message businesses directly and have conversations with them in real time, using the messaging apps they prefer.
By tailoring the shopping experience to individual customers, brands can increase customer engagement and loyalty, ultimately leading to increased sales. Some benefits that conversational commerce can offer are personalization, 24/7 availability, convenience, speed and scalability by automating processes. All these will directly impact the revenue generated by a brand which will have a direct impact on performance marketing.
Soon, the integration of AI chatbots with conversational commerce may create a huge shift in the way consumers carry out their research and create an impact on the consumer’s entire purchase journey.
Adoption of ChatGPT
Apple’s Siri was the first well-known conversational Assistant or “chatbot” technology added into a smartphone, Alexa’s smart speaker launched in 2014 revolutionized the space. Google followed up quickly with its own “Google Home” smart speaker and implemented the conversational AI into all Android devices to make informational conversations more accessible.
The adoption of the current smart speaker highlights how humans still have trouble with dialogue when talking to machines. We still tend to use abbreviated terms and odd phrasing and pack our sentences with core keywords. We are so used to Q&A formats that it doesn’t feel natural to continue the conversation without rephrasing the question entirely. But these habits could quickly change if we start producing knowledgeable assets from the information we discover. OpenAI's language models can be trained to generate natural-sounding voice ads that are tailored to the listener's interests and preferences. For example, a voice ad for a restaurant could be customized based on the listener's location and past dining preferences. This level of personalization can help to improve engagement and increase the effectiveness of the ad.
Google in Panic?
First off, this topic is not going to fade, and it should remain top of mind for business leaders and marketers. OpenAI’s ChatGPT and the underlying advancement of LLM’s are most certainly going to alter consumer behavior and “search” journey over the next several years. OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft or other companies will be the key to funding the advancements to invest themselves on various fronts. Over the next 5-10 years, we’re confident that natural language dialogue with machines will continue to increase, only producing better experiences and meaningful output.
Google may not be slayed overnight as it is a huge task to change user behaviors established with Google for the past 25+ years. Even if users love a new dialogue platform that uses AI, it will be a more transitional shift where the market share of Google will be impacted. In fact, not unlike TikTok becoming a rapid and popular search platform for short-form video content, its real competition is innovation.
ChatGPT is only spurring this new era of AI Dialogue tools, even if Google is likely to remain a core leader in the space. ChatGPT has been incorporated by Microsoft into its Bing search engine, enabling users to ask specific questions directly to the search engine instead of relying solely on keywords or search terms for the best results. Microsoft has also integrated ChatGPT into its Teams communication tool and plans to introduce a limited version of it to the Edge browser. Additionally, the Opera browser has announced its intention to integrate ChatGPT at a future date.
Google Bard, also known as the "storyteller," is a new experimental AI chatbot that can converse with users and answer various types of queries and requests. Like OpenAI's ChatGPT, it uses online information to generate high-quality and unique responses. Although it is not yet widely available, Google Bard is expected to be integrated into Google Search and may eventually be accessible through its search bar.
This ChatGPT demo release showcases how Large Language Models, Assistants trained on vast amounts of data, can take basic language prompts, and quickly create useful content, programming code or creative assets. For Search Marketing – and beyond – the potential utilization and considerations are many.
With this we conclude the first blog in a content series aimed at understanding how Generative AI impacts the media landscape, exploring key impact areas including search marketing & content discovery, content creation, brand integration and monetization, and brand and business usage.
In the upcoming blog, we will highlight various use cases of ChatGPT and other generative AIs. Our aim is to be updated and adaptive to these dynamic changes and keep our readers updated as well.